Wheels enable easy movement of the bed, either within parts of the facility they are located, or within the room. Sometimes, movement of the bed a few inches to a few feet may be necessary in patient care.
Wheels are lockable. For safety, wheels can be locked when transferring the patient in or out of the bed.
Beds can be raised and lowered at the head, feet, and their entire height. While on older beds, this is done with cranks usually found at the foot of the bed, on modern beds, this feature is electronic.
Today, while a full electric bed has many features that are electronic, a semi-electric bed has two motors, one to raise the head, and the other to raise the foot.
Raising the head (known as a Fowler's position) can provide some benefits to the patient, the staff, or both. The Fowler's position is used for sitting the patient upright for feeding or certain other activities, or in some patients, can ease breathing, or may be beneficial to the patient for other reasons.
Raising the feet can help ease movement of the patient toward the headboard and may also be necessary for certain conditions.
Raising and lowering the height of the bed can help bring the bed to a comfortable level for the patient to get in and out of bed, or for caregivers to work with the patient.
Beds have side rails that can be raised or lowered. These rails, which serve as protection for the patient and sometimes can make the patient feel more secure, can also include the buttons used for their operation by staff and patients to move the bed, call the nurse, or even control the television.
There are a variety of different types of side rails to serve different purposes. While some are simply to prevent patient falls, others have equipment that can aid the patient him/herself without physically confining the patient to bed.
Side rails, if not built properly, can be of risk for patient entrapment. In the United States, more than 300 deaths were reported as a result of this between 1985 and 2004.As a result, the Food and Drug Administration has set guidelines regarding the safety of side rails.
In some cases, use of the rails may require a physician's order (depending on the laws of the place and the policies of the facility where they are used) as rails may be considered a form of medical restraint.
Many specialist hospital beds are also produced in order to effectively treat different injuries. These include standing beds,turning beds and legacy beds.These are usually used to treat back and spinal injuries as well as severe trauma.